Rudder

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Stern-mounted steering oar of an Egyptian riverboat depicted in the Tomb of Menna (c. 1422-1411 BC)
Stern-mounted steering oar of a Roman boat, 1st century AD (RG-Museum, Cologne).

A rudder is used to steer ships, boats, submarines, aircraft, hovercraft or other conveniences that move through air or water.

History of the rudder[change | change source]

Oars mounted on the side of ships for steering are documented from the 3rd millennium BCE in Persia and Ancient Egypt in artwork, wooden models, and even parts of actual boats of that times. An early example of an oar mounted on the stern is found in the Egyptian tomb of Menna (1422-1411 BC). Stern-mounted oars were also quite common in Roman river navigation as proved from reliefs more than a millennium later.


One of the world's oldest known image of a stern-mounted rudder can be seen on a 2 ft. long tomb pottery model of a Chinese junk that dates from the 1st century CE, during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD).[1]

Foot notes[change | change source]

  1. Needham, Volume 4, Part 3, 649-650.

Literature[change | change source]